Category Archives: Science

Binge Watching Great Movies about Real Conspiracies that Affect Us All

I was on a short business trip recently and had a chance to view three new movies about real conspiracies that affect us all. This prompted me to go back and re-watch some documentaries from the recent past. Talk about dark night of the soul! Here are my brief reviews in no particular order… Spotlight I was […]

Deception, Obfuscation & Misdirection

Most are familiar with the concept of FUD—short for Fear, Uncertainty & Doubt. It summarizes a strategy often used in marketing and political propaganda. Its effects are pernicious, divisive and lead to exploitation. Examples abound. Fear is a strong motivator! To resist FUD one must understand how it is practiced using the principle tools Deception, Obfuscation and Misdirection. It is nearly […]

Awesome Virtual Pluto Flyover!

Hint: This is HD, view full screen!

Idiot America by Charles Pierce

Idiot America How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free Charles Pierce (2009) This short confection of a book has a serious message… When “cranks” become mainstream and large segments of the population take them seriously, our entire society is at risk! He’s not against people with unconventional ideas, in fact he […]

Plain-Tailed Wrens Sing a Duet

1.1 Mb Video Source: Science 334(6056):666-670 Wrens are one of my favorite bird families. Our local representative is the Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus) whose song resembles a pleasant car alarm [listen]. In a recent paper by Eric Fortune at al published in Science there are several recordings of Plain-Tailed Wrens (Pheugopedius euophrys) from South America singing […]

Hans Rosling’s 200 Countries, 200 Years

This is an absorbing visualization of progress made in the past two hundred years. It seems to confirm the notion that “a rising tide lifts all boats”. He shows the relationship of wealth to health over time in a very intuitive way. His presentation allows us to “see” the benefits of the industrial revolution (early) and […]

Human Capacity for Killing at a Distance

Anthropologist Steven Churchill from Duke University recently gave a fascinating lecture [listen] on the discovery of projectile weapons by early Homo sapiens and subsequent effects on large carnivores (extinction!) and human evolution. His basic premise is that sometime in the past 250,000 years humans discovered how to kill at a distance. This allowed us to […]

Descartes’ Bones by Russell Shorto

This entertaining little book sheds light on many subjects. First, it is a concise biography of the life and ideas of René Descartes. He outlines how Descartes’ Discourse on the Method led to the birth of the modern era. He also gives a clear overview of Cartesian Dualism and why we struggle with it to this day. […]

Homo Floresiensis

A new member of the human tribe, Homo Floresiensis, was discovered in 2003 on the Indonesian island of Flores. These diminutive humans were alive as recently as 20,000 years ago, which makes them contemporary with us (H. sapiens) and H. neanderthalensis. The recently opened Hall of Human Origins at the National Museum of Natural History has incredibly lifelike […]

Clair Cameron Patterson, the Age of the Earth, and Environmental Lead

I’m currently reading A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. About a third of the way in he introduces Clair Cameron Patterson who could be the model of the modern citizen/scientist. Here is a short synopsis of his career: Born in Iowa; attended Grinnell College, U of Iowa, U of Chicago; participated in the Manhattan Project […]